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What if you could change your daily habits and get better sleep? On average, you’ll spend approximately 26 years asleep. That’s over 9,000 days or almost 230,000 hours. It’s an essential part of your life and is vital to your overall health, particularly your brain health.

Your body needs an average of seven to ten hours of sleep a night. However, busy lifestyles, stress, and even changes in sleep patterns as you age can chip away at how much sleep you end up getting. Because sleep is such a vital part of your existence, developing healthy sleep habits is one thing you can do to take better care of your body and brain.

1- Set a sleep schedule

Of all the things you can do in order to ensure you get healthy sleep, going to bed and waking up at the same time every day is the most important. One common misconception is that you can catch up on sleep. Unfortunately, it takes up to four days to recover from one hour of lost sleep. Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule keeps your brain happy and healthy.

2- Exercise daily

It may seem counterintuitive, but staying active throughout the day is a fantastic way to keep your sleep on track. Being active for 30 minutes a day improves sleep quality for myriad reasons. It releases endorphins and lowers cortisol levels in your brain, which work to keep your brain awake. It also stabilizes your sleep-wake cycle so you can not only fall asleep at consistent times but fall into a deeper, higher quality sleep, as well.

3- Be aware of lighting

Your circadian rhythm largely drives your sleep-wake cycle. And this rhythm is directly affected by light—specifically blue light. Sunlight is made up of an array of light, but the one that impacts your circadian rhythm directly are the blue rays. These are strongest in the morning, which is why getting sunlight right when you wake up can help you feel invigorated and energized. These rays lower as the sun sets, allowing your brain to release melatonin and prepare for sleep. Unfortunately, many of the devices in modern-day life, such as televisions, computers, and phones, also have blue light in them. Using blue light glasses at night or avoiding screens for at least one hour before going to bed can help reduce the effect blue light has on your brain and help you fall asleep faster.

4- Eat healthy food

Food plays a crucial role in how well you sleep. A diet consisting of high fiber and low sugar helps you fall asleep faster and can increase the amount of deep, slow-wave sleep you get each night. Sugar and caffeine can not just keep you awake but wake you up throughout the night as well. And because they stay in your system for several hours, you want to avoid them at least eight hours before going to bed. Spicy foods can lead to heartburn or acid reflux, so minimizing those before bed will lead to better quality sleep as well. And foods rich in magnesium and vitamin B boost and balance your melatonin levels, the neurochemical vital to healthy sleep.

5- Create a sleep-friendly environment

Paying attention to where you sleep is an important step in getting quality sleep every night. You get your best sleep in rooms that are cool, dark, quiet, and have minimal clutter in them. If you live near bright street lights, using blackout curtains or a sleep mask can help keep the light out. Earbuds or earplugs designed for sleep can help minimize noise. Ideally, minimize screen time by avoiding watching television or scrolling social media in bed. But a healthy sleep environment also extends to making sure you have a comfortable and supportive mattress, bedding, and pillows. And you want to only use your bed and bedroom for sleep, keeping work or other daytime activities in other areas of your home whenever possible.

6- Meditate

Meditation has significant health benefits, one of which is healthier sleep. Studies in biopsychology, the study of behavior on the brain, has shown that meditation can reduce insomnia by reducing and managing extreme emotions like anger, anxiety, stress, and depression. Meditating before bed can help your body and mind relax so you can fall asleep faster and experience deeper sleep. And meditating during the day can help keep your sleep cycles on track. If you’re feeling tired or fatigued, ten minutes of meditation is equivalent to roughly forty minutes of sleep, so meditating instead of napping can give you the energy boost you need without disrupting your sleep-wake cycle.

7- Know when to nap

Naps can be a secret weapon to daytime productivity but there’s a trick to napping without sacrificing your sleep cycle. First, aim for naps that are ten to twenty minutes long, never going over thirty minutes if you can help it. Second, don’t sleep past 3 pm so that you aren’t disrupting your natural sleep rhythms. Drinking a small cup of coffee before starting your nap can also help you wake up within the allotted time, as caffeine takes roughly twenty to thirty minutes to take effect.

8- Read a Book

One habit that can help develop healthy sleep and reduce screen time before bed is reading a book. In 2009, University of Sussex researchers found that reading a book for at least six minutes before bed lowered stress by 68%. Reading fiction has been found to be as relaxing as meditation, in that it takes your mind out of your worries and allows you to fall into different thought patterns. By clearing your minds, you ease into a relaxed state that helps you fall asleep. Keep in mind, while some e-readers are designed to have low levels of blue light, tablets or phones won’t have the same effect. Actual books are ideal.


Making small changes to your daily routines can make a world of difference when it comes to healthy sleep. If you implement healthy sleep habits and still find yourself struggling, we always recommend seeing a medical professional. Getting quality sleep is one of the most important facets to ensuring your body and mind perform at optimal levels, unlocking your limitless potential.

For more on how to develop better sleep habits, watch this video:


With the right mindset, you can achieve anything. Over the years, we’ve interviewed and discussed the powerful principle of mindset with people dedicated to opening the door of possibility for everyone. In honor of International Women’s Day, we want to focus on some amazing women and their stories of perseverance and success.

The first National Women’s Day was held in New York City on February 28, 1909. It took another decade for women to win the right to vote in the United States. Even then, only a few countries celebrated Women’s Day until 1977 when the United Nations adopted it as a globally recognized holiday. It took dedication, focus, and determination to make today possible.

Women continue to champion for a better world in all aspects of life. These six books written by incredible women will help you unlock your limitless potential by helping you change your mindset.

Miracle Mindset: A Mother, Her Son, and Life’s Hardest Lessons by JJ Virgin (republished as Warrior Mom: 7 Secrets to Bold, Brave Resilience)

Sometimes the most powerful lessons are the hardest. JJ Virgin learned that lesson when she sat in a hospital room with her then sixteen-year-old son. He had been in a hit-and-run accident and doctor’s didn’t think he would survive the night. She refused to give up and had to find the mental fortitude to face the biggest and hardest challenge of her life. In a straightforward manner, Virgin shares her story and the lessons that carried her through.

Miracle Mindset is a powerful story of perseverance and mindset. By changing your daily habits, you can make the impossible possible. Virgin writes the lessons she’s learned in a way that anyone going through a difficult time can relate to. No matter what situation you’re in, you have personal power and purpose. It’s just a matter of overcoming your limitations to find them.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck

Mindset matters. It affects every area of your life. No one understands how pivotal mindset is like Dr. Carol Dweck. Through decades of research she’s unlocked how mindset influences your perception of your talents and abilities. When you change your mindset, you become capable of achieving almost anything.

Do you have a growth mindset? Or have you fallen into the trap of developing a false growth mindset? How does a fixed mindset truly hold you back? The answer to these questions and more can help unlock your motivation so you can transform your life. Mindset walks you through not only how to apply this change in thinking to yourself, but to your business, your relationships, how you parent, and how you train. Once you learn how to see what is possible, the world becomes limitless.

Imagine it Forward: Courage, Creativity, and the Power of Change by Beth Comstock

The only guarantee in life is change. So, how do you move forward in the face of uncertainty? Beth Comstock has dedicated her career to this very question. The world will never move slower than it does now. Learning how to adapt to constant disruption is vital in this ever-changing landscape.

Comstock shares her experience navigating change over the course of her thirty year career. She’s learned the problem with growth isn’t lack of ideas or knowledge. It’s fear, doubt, and holding onto what you think you know. Through her own experience, Imagine it Forward helps you identify practical ways to become a forward-thinker and creative problem-solver to overcome any obstacle in your life.

Believe It: How to Go from Underestimated to Unstoppable by Jamie Kern Lima

Have you ever felt underestimated? Or let other people’s criticisms of you, your goals, or your dreams make you question everything? Jamie Kern Lima knows exactly what that feels like. She was once a struggling waitress told that no one would ever buy make up from someone with her body type. And yet she turned her brand into an international sensation, selling her company for over billion dollars, and becoming the first female CEO for a brand under L’Oréal’s umbrella.

Jamie almost didn’t make it. She had to develop monumental resilience. But when she did, she stopped being underestimated and become unstoppable. Through relatable, sometimes heartbreaking, often powerful stories from her life, Believe It shows you that you have what it takes to achieve anything and how to stop listening to anyone who says otherwise.

The High-5 Habit: Take Control of Your Life with One Simple Habit by Mel Robbins

Mel Robbins knows how to tap into your motivation. But before you can reach your goals, you have to believe in yourself first. When was the last time you cheered for yourself? It’s probably been a long time. You may not realize how critical your inner thoughts are. And how much those thoughts stop you from reaching your goals.

You are the most important person in your life. But when was the past time you treated yourself as a priority. It’s time to silence the critic, let go of self-doubt, change your focus, and get the results you deserve. Packed with science-back methods, deeply personal stories, and actual results, The High-Five Habit teaches you how to truly believe in yourself through one simple yet effective habit.

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

What differentiates people who succeed versus those who don’t? Why can some people seem to overcome anything while others give up in the face of adversity? Angela Duckworth had a theory. She believed it all came down to one thing: grit.

Success doesn’t happen without failure. But how you pick yourself back up and move forward is what matters. Through insightful interviews, hands-on experiments, and historical examples, Grit explains exactly what that special blend of perseverance and passion is, and what it can do. Go beyond talent and learn how to change your life to reach your dreams.


When it comes to achieving your goals, mindset matters. You’re going to face obstacles, and sometimes you’ll fail. Success doesn’t come from talent or luck. It takes focus and motivation. But most importantly, it takes the right mindset. We hope these six books will help you unlock your limitless potential by showing you how to change your mindset no matter what stands in your way.

If you want to learn how to develop a champion’s mindset, watch this episode:


One of the most important skills you can develop to improve your productivity, creativity, and relationships is active listening. And science agrees.

Active listening is the art of really hearing what someone is saying. Truly listening to someone is not just nodding along and waiting for your turn to speak. It’s about fully engaging with the person in front of you by showing them you care about what they’re saying. Research has shown that when you actively listen to someone, you activate several areas of the brain.

One study conducted at the University of California, Berkeley found that when participants listened to a speaker recount a personal story, their brain activity synchronized with the speaker. This means that the listener’s brain was processing the story in a way that mirrored the speaker’s brain. Researchers believe that synchronization promotes empathy and understanding in people.

How can you improve your active listening skills? Here are a few tips, backed by research.

Pay Attention

You can’t listen if you aren’t paying attention. This might seem obvious, but actively paying attention is harder than it sounds. You live in a world of distractions. The pings and dings from social media, texts, emails, and more are constantly disrupting your focus and drawing your attention away. To be an active listener, you want to tune out all those distractions and focus on the person in front of you.

Research shows that when you pay attention to someone, you activate the prefrontal cortex of your brain, the area responsible for decision-making, attention, and other complex cognitive behaviors. This strengthens these areas, improving not only your communication skills, but your focus, concentration, problem-solving, and more.

One way to strengthen your attention is by practicing mindfulness. Take a few deep breaths and clear your mind of everything except what you want to focus on. This takes a lot of practice, so you want to do this throughout the day. Try things like turning off your phone, silencing your notifications, and simply be present. You can also practice mindfulness through daily meditation and journaling. The more you’re able to stay in the moment, the better you’ll be at active listening.

Show Your Interest

Active listening isn’t just hearing what someone is saying. It’s being an active participant in the conversation. You can show you’re invested in what they’re saying through nonverbal cues like nodding, making eye contact, and leaning in when throughout the conversation.

Research shows that when you use nonverbal cues to signal your engagement in a discussion, the speaker is more likely to feel understood and validated. A Japanese study found that individuals who believed someone was actively listening to them had their reward system activated. They were more likely to view the conversation as positive and they were more likely to actively listen in return. This led to more productive and meaningful conversations.

You can practice repeating what they said to show that you understand. For example, if someone says, “I’m really struggling with this project at work,” you could respond with, “It sounds like you’re feeling overwhelmed with your workload right now.” Paraphrasing helps avoid misunderstandings and reassures the person talking that you are engaged in what they are saying.

Don’t Interrupt

This is big. Most people lock onto a point and wait for their turn to speak. And interrupting someone is a surefire way to show you’re not really listening to them. Even if you think you know what they’re going to say, let them finish their thought before jumping in.

Research has shown that when you interrupt someone, you activate the amygdala, the part of your brain responsible for fight-or-flight responses. This is referred to as having your amygdala hijacked because the abrupt interjection sends an alarm through the brain and triggers an emotional response. But when you allow someone to speak uninterrupted, you activate the prefrontal cortex, which promotes cognitive and emotional regulation.

If you need to interject, try using phrases like “Can I jump in for a moment?” or “I’d like to add something to that.” This shows that you’re respectful of their time and their thoughts.

Ask Questions

Asking questions is a great way to show you’re engaged in the conversation. It also helps to clarify any misunderstandings and encourages the other person to keep talking. Try asking open-ended questions that encourage the other person to share more. For example, if you’re discussing a project at work that they’re struggling with ask, “Why do you think [insert their obstacle] is such a challenge right now?” or “Can you tell me a bit more about [the obstacle]?”

Asking questions helps you better understand and retain information. Studies show that when you ask questions, you engage the hippocampus, the part of your brain responsible for memory and learning. It helps solidify the information, which can be helpful if the conversation is more technical or complicated. By clarifying key elements of the discussion, you reassure the person talking that you understand the topic and it helps you remember the details better. 

Summarize the Conversation

At the end of the conversation, take a moment to summarize what you discussed. You don’t want to list the bullet points of the conversation. That’s a good way of making the entire discussion feel like a business transaction. Instead, paraphrase any agreements you both made, or points for follow-up. This can take some practice to come across naturally, but it’s worthwhile.

Summarizing information activates the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. This area handles cognitive functions like working memory and learning. Repetition helps embed information in your brain, and when you repeat something in your own words, you’re even more likely to retain it. Even if there aren’t any action steps to take, the next time you see that person, you can ask about the conversation, which will clearly show them not only that you were listening, but that they were important enough to remember.


Active listening is a crucial skill for effective communication. It builds better relationships by strengthening the areas of your brain that promote empathy and understanding. But it also improves your memory, cognitive functionality, and emotional regulation. Becoming a better listener takes practice, but it’s a skill that will take you far in both business and life.

For more tips on how to be a better active listener, watch this video: